Calling the perfect shawl

I’m crazy with anticipation. Since I last wrote about my Jacob fleece, I’ve been regularly spreading it out on the kitchen floor, and then picking and choosing the locks and colours that I’ll wash.  

(This, by the way, seems to drive my regularly odd cat to new heights of weirdom.  She can’t handle it. She lies down, grabs chunks of raw fleece and rubs them all over her face. I’ve taken to locking her in my bedroom because I can’t stand to watch it.)  I have enough now that I’ve  I’ve promised myself that tomorrow I take this bag of washed jacob locks, and start carding and spinning it into yarn for… Well. That’s the question, isn’t it? 

I’m looking for a shawl that isn’t too big – but not too small.  Definitely not a triangular scarf pretending to be a shawl, because that’s just annoying. (I mean, if you’re a scarf, say so. Have a little pride.) Not too big, because that’s more spinning than I want to do, and really, this jacob fleece is little. I haven’t started spinning yet, so really, the yarn can be any weight, though I’d like to do something like a light fingering.  (By the way, you shouldn’t ever google "light fingering."  It’s as entirely shocking as pondering fleece washing techniques and deciding to google "dirty sheep." I shall perhaps never get over that one. Some people are just not right.)

I’m going to spin the colours of the Jacob all separately, so when I’m done I should have a black, several shades of grey and a white.  There’s very little true black on the fleece, so that yield the smallest amount of yarn – if I run out of grey I can spin more, if I run out of white I can spin more.. but that black is finite, so I’d like to start with black on the long edge of the shawl, and decrease up to the nape of the neck. All that in mind – any suggestions for a small triangular shawl constructed that way that would look great in a graduated colour scheme?

245 thoughts on “Calling the perfect shawl

  1. I may have to try googling those two items,just to see. Yeah, I know, don’t touch that burners hot. Boredom has set in.

  2. Brooklyn Tweed’s latest shawl offering – Rock Island – might look fantastic with those colors, especially if there is enough black to do the outer lace edging.

  3. I can see those colors in two ways — a very open work Icelandic/Nordic, or as a Southwestern Navajo or Anasazi geometric pattern.

  4. How about a Pi shawl? Or is that too big? I also love the look of some of the handspun Citrons floating about and you could make that as large or as small as you would like.

  5. Look on Ravelry for everything designed by Romi HIll. I bought her ebook “7 Small Shawls to Knit” and recently finished the lovely Maia; now I’m working on her Sakaki, which is a benefit for the Japanese people (like her Brandywine is for Haiti). I thought I was the antithesis of a “shawl person,” but Romi has converted me, at least to hers!

  6. “She lies down, grabs chunks of raw fleece and rubs them all over her face.” Totally normal cat behavior.
    Think about it, though – indoor kitty never gets to capture her own sheeps like a wild mountain lion. A girl can fill her face with the smell of those wild, not-gotten sheep and dream, can’t she? 😉

  7. I immediately thought Charlotte’s Web shawl, but that one seems little on the big side. Good luck with your shawl search.

  8. The Damask shawl by Kitman Figueroa would be quite lovely. Requires 380 to 650 yards of fingering weight, and uses a 6mm and 4mm needle.

  9. I would recommend anything by Anne Hanson. Firstly her patterns are so beautifully written and entirely thorough. Another benefit is that often her shawls are written in up to three different sizes which would allow you some decent options for the amount of fibre you have to work with. Everyone needs more Anne in their life. Regardless of your choice, I’m looking forward to watching this work up.

  10. I’d go for Jared Flood’s Juneberry Triangle (whose name I first read as “Juneberry Tangle.” I made one out of some random wool roving belonging to a sheep named Pansy, and am delighted with the result. Part of what I like about it is that it is *not* symmetrical around the center line of stitches.

  11. I, too, would recommend Romi Hill’s shawls, particularly Maia…I made mine significantly larger than the written pattern – it was easy to modify to a more ‘ample’ size and the complements on it never stop!

  12. Annis, from one of the more recent Knitty publications. It’s somewhere between triangular and half-circle, so you don’t get the “Here’s my Butt” arrow action but it still has nice shape. It starts on the long edge so you can start with the black, and would look smashing in a graduated color scheme.
    It’s on my list. I just finished my master’s thesis, so the knitting has languished.

  13. I agree with Kristina L. that Damask would be a nice choice–I made one recently and I couldn’t be happier with it. She has another pattern, Gossamer, that is the same size and bottom-up construction that’s also really lovely. Many of knitspot’s triangular shawl patterns are bottom-up as well, and all of her lace patterns are so pretty…

  14. My cat is a wool whore too. My advice is to embrase the cuteness – there are worse things than having another wool lover in the house. A word of warning – my cat will also try to knead the wool with his claws. Let’s just say he is a very good amateur needle felter.

  15. Are you sure you want to start with the long side of the (triangular) shawl? If you have a finite amount of yarn, wouldn’t it be better to start at the point and work out, so you can stop when the yarn runs low? You’ve knitted way more shawls than I have. Just saying…
    P.S. Check out my MacKay design if you want an easy-knit lace triangle, although I suspect you’d like something much more challenging.

  16. If I recall, I have a little black Jacob fiber from a sheep person locally who tends a heritage flock of Jacobs. If you fall in love with a particular shawl but don’t quite have enough black for it, I’d be happy to send it to you.

  17. I love this shawl
    It has 3 sizes so you can do what works for you (the smallest is more of a shawlette really). The design is beautiful and it fits the parameter you set starting with the long edge. I am knitting it right now and it is complicated enough to be interesting and simple enough to not make me want to rip my hair out!

  18. The fleece looks even lovelier washed. I think Damask by Alison Green Will (twist collective spring/summer 2010) would also look lovely in several colors- border, two body pattern sections.

  19. Lately I’ve been wanting to knit the Crow Waltz Shawl. You might think it’s on the small side, though. But I think it would be beautiful with the different colors in your fleece.

  20. “She lies down, grabs chunks of raw fleece and rubs them all over her face.” That’s not normal behavior? Oh. . . for a CAT. . . I miss my sheep.

  21. Years ago someone (I think it might have been Dez Crawford) wrote that lanolin smells like momcat’s milk, and that is why some cats will go crazy for yarn that hasn’t been scoured clear of the stuff.
    And Jacob fleece sure has its share of lanolin.

  22. I hate to be the one to tell ya, but your cat was marking the fleece as theirs! Cats have something secreted in their cheeks that lets them leave their scent on whatever they rub their faces against….

  23. Another vote for Rock Island. I have the pattern and am working on it now. You start with the edging which would solve your limited black problem. As I was knitting, I realized that at the rate I was going it was going to be huge, so I did some math (made my brain hurt) and was able to size it down…so, you could probably make it more shawlette sized if you don’t end up with enough yardage. I’m happy to share my calculations. 🙂

  24. What about the Margarethte Lace Shawl from Vintage Modern Knits? You could do the garter stitch edging and very bottom in black, then switch to gray for the lace edging, then to white the rest of the way up.

  25. You’ve picked the fleece. You’ve picked through the fleece for the specific bits you want to use to create a specific yarn, and you intend to create that yarn. This shawl will be such a “you” creation that I would think the ideal thing would be for you to also create a pattern specifically for it. That way, you could create the pattern to accommodate your yarn. It then would be all “you”, except you did need the Jacob’s help in growing the fleece.

  26. i dont suppose youd like to swap all the UK’s jacob for all the US’s cormo? were practically swimming in jacob over here. honestly, i swear every 3rd bag of fleece i open i get jacob. but cormo is like blooming goldust in the uk, practically impossible to find (aparently the sheep go all green with algea due to our climate), unfortunately its also goergous and possibly mildly addictive if your a spinner.

  27. Simmer Dim from the shetland trader. I knit it up in worsted weight yarn, and it came out stunning.

  28. It’s hard to go wrong with chartreuse, Stephanie. It’s the Pantone color of the year. Wait. I think I’m a year or two behind on the Pantone of the year color. I think chartreuse was the go-to color of a couple seasons ago. Still it’s the color of the recession!

  29. If no one has suggested a Faroe shawl, do that. I love the shaping of them and I think the color gradation would be stunning.

  30. I’ve got to second the suggestion of Jared Flood’s Rock Island. That would look amazing in white or gray with black edging.

  31. What about Hawthorne? I think that would look great in graduated colors. Plus it will be a slightly different construction from your standard triangle shawl…Or maybe Stripe Study? You could alternate 2 skeins of your handspun to get different color stripes.

  32. Go with the side to side shawls that are all the rage now. Spin up what you like then divide in half and begin increasing. When you hit the middle decrease. Examples Pettine or Pink Lemon Twist (Melanie) has one called Angelfish.

  33. I know you’ve done Haruni before, but the edging in a different color and graduating up (or down in this instance) would be awesome. That shawl also doesn’t take much yarn.
    Good luck with whatever you pick – I’m sure it will be lovely!

  34. Look at the Tiered Shawl or the Garden Party Shawl by Two Old Bags at . At the recent Madrona Fiber Retreat in Tacoma, WA, they had these 2 very unique shawl patterns worked up in light Irish yarns of grey, ivory and black combinations. I couldn’t pass up buying the patterns and I think one might look unique and interesting in your Jacob yarn.

  35. Google Freyalyn Mumble-Mumble’s (Chase-Hainsworth, Close-Farnsworth, something like that) prize-winning shawl. She carded colour-graduated ROLAGS and used them to knit mitred squares for a shawl, wherein each mitred square had a dark edge with light at the decrease tip. And she added beads. It was STUNNING – but that means that you have to figure out how much yarn each mitred square takes, and card that exact amount with light-to-dark (or the other way) before you can even think of spinning.
    Or you could do small one-colour mitred squares, with the darkest ones at the edge etc etc. Or similarly the Horst Schultz shells modular pattern, which I’ve seen in lovely lacy incarnations.
    Going to SOAR? Hoping for better vegetarian food this time?

  36. so I googled it because I am a contrary person and was bored, and even with safe search off the majority was yarn (for light fingering) and perfectly normal sheep who needed baths (for dirty sheep). oh wells.

  37. It seems as if your cat might be … a wool harlot?
    In other news, I read this at work. When I finally grasped the potential alternative meanings of *ahem* light fingering *cough*, I burst out laughing hysterically. I laughed so long and so hard that other people finally started coming to my cube to ask if I was willing to share what was so funny.
    Well. None of them are knitters, and so don’t get the ‘light fingering’ joke. Which just makes it all the funnier. Thanks for a much needed release of endorphins, Stephanie!
    Still laughing!

  38. This:
    “She lies down, grabs chunks of raw fleece and rubs them all over her face.” Totally normal cat behavior.
    Think about it, though – indoor kitty never gets to capture her own sheeps like a wild mountain lion. A girl can fill her face with the smell of those wild, not-gotten sheep and dream, can’t she? 😉
    Posted by: KathyB at April 18, 2011 2:11

  39. I can’t wait to see the yarn when it’s done! By the way, there’s a setting for your google that will help with your search problems. Just sayin’. Some things never need to be seen.

  40. Hey, Wendy Knit’s new charity shawl ‘Japanese Garden Shawl’ is knit from the bottom up, and is really beautiful- especially the bottom edge. All her proceeds go to Japan relief funds.

  41. Yeah, well if you ever have an interest in Aromatherapy or perhaps all things Egyptian, don’t google “mummification.” I needed brain bleach after that one. What is seen, cannot be unseen.

  42. The Ireland shawl from Folk Shawls? – its a square shape (with the neckband in the middle so one side is left open). You could really stop whenever you run out of yarn…I have one that’s very small that has a nice twist because of the not-yet-a-square shape when worn as a scarf. The lace patterns are entertaining, but not difficult.

  43. If you would consider a stole, the ‘Currach Stole’ is lovely in natural colors.

  44. How about something from Alisons Hyde’s book “Wrapped in Comfort” the julia shawl can be made smaller or I saw something from Franklin Habit more of a wrap maybe.

  45. I hate to bring this up but did you ever finish spinning the wool for Joe’s Gansey? Or finish knitting it?? Maybe I just missed it but thought I should ask.

  46. When my daughters were young they went to a pirate themed birthday party and spent the next week or so playing elaborate pirate fantasy games. Noticing that they had both chosen male names I decided to let them know that there had been female pirates too. With that in my head I googled Lady Pirates. Let’s just say not everyone’s idea of a fantasy game is the same. Thankfully they were not by my side as I opened up the search.
    Have fun spinning.

  47. I didn’t read through all the comments, so I apologize if you have seen this one before:
    This is a pattern by Wendy Johnson and it’s just lovely. I made it out of one skein of Ironstone Fiesta “Ballet”. It can be looped like a scarf, or worn as shown in the pics like a small shawl. It’s really pretty with a pin.

  48. Ok, I like the idea of the open work with the geometric design. Here’s the thing with Jacobs, they are not overbred so the fleece from different parts of the body can have very different character. Often, the dark will have a different crimp than the white. ( I have 9 Jacobs and love them.) So, I think a basic triangle with a simple eyelet pattern. This is definitely the kind of thing where the yarn will do most of the work for you. And, by the way, one of my cats will nest inside fleeces.

  49. I spent an age trying to find a pattern to show off some gorgeous handspun given to me by a friend. In the end my daughter designed ‘McCafferty’ for me and I think it was a perfect yarn/pattern match. Available for download on Ravelry if you’d like to take a look.

  50. The June Marinella Shawl on Ravelry may be the one. It calls for 700 yds. A small amount in the shawl world. It’s light fingering, as you specified. I think the knitting is parallel to the bottom, so the color changes would flow with the shawl rather than be color stripes across your back. It’s knit top down, so you can stop when you want, or run out of fleece. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a finished size anywhere. And although it’s not free, it’s not an outlandish price, $5.

  51. How about the “Icelandic Lace Shawl” that Interweave Knits put out as a free pattern a few years ago. I tried to ravel it but could not see it. I do have a copy of it I could send you if you want it and can’t find the pattern. Just email me and I’ll send it to you. I have made it, it is beautiful and not too too big and uses a gradation of grays and whites that would be perfect for the colors of your fleece. There are a few similar shawls on Ravelry if you google it that are also quite nice but look a bit larger. Can’t wait to see what you pick!

  52. I have no shawl suggestions but I do think you need to post a pic of your cat rubbing the fleece on her face – it would be priceless!!! I may have to google those terms also, although I can only imagine where it would lead me….

  53. I was thinking Damson, too. Melanie/Pink Lemon Twist just finished one and the pattern looks good.
    My cats love anything wool, and dogs often like it, too. I’m not surprised (insertHarlot’sCat’sNameHereMyMindisBlank) is rubbing her face in it. This is a perfect excuse to get her her own miniature sheep. Just tell people it’s your second cat!

  54. i swear i recently saw a graduated shawl pattern on the Through the Loops blog. Her patterns are always gorgeous!

  55. Litla Dimun shawl from Folk Shawls. I knit this in Sirri (Faroese wool)singles and it is amazing! Used 4mm needles and it gave a wonderful fabric.

  56. Linda Choo’s collection of designs are smallish and would work well with a blend of shades. Just a thought.

  57. Take a look at the Brooklyn Tweed shawl. If not that exact same one, then maybe something based on that. Start with black lace and see how far you get. Then pick up along the edge with grey and work back from there. That way you can use up every precious inch of the black.

  58. I, too, would love a picture of the cat and wool together. Plus, isn’t “odd cat” a little redundant? (I do love mine; it just seems to be true.)

  59. My choice would be the Tiered Shawl from Two Old Bags.
    I saw this shawl pattern when I was at stitches east last fall. I bought the pattern in hopes of spinning the wool from three different sheep to make it in all natural shades. It would also work well for your jacob fleece. My only concern is how much of the dark color do you have? The pattern calls for Karabella Yarns “Lace Merino” (1.75 oz/255 yards) If you used the dark as color A it would only take the one skeins work. I guess until you spin it you won’t know for sure.

  60. Andreas Shawl by Kirsten Kapur. It is knitted from the outside in and I love its construction, It starts with a long strip which is then picked up from to start the inwards working of the shawl, and that would suit your limited amount of black.

  61. I think a plain shawl in garter stitch would look lovely. There is a ravelry thread about the shawls in the new jane eyre movie that would look lovely in your colorways. The mason Dixon gals have some great shawls with bold stripes of color.
    Are you set on a shawl? A handspun blanket from the mitered cross pattern would be lovely. A handspun stash buster!

  62. Also? Don’t try googling the fabric stiffening product “stiffy” by its brand name. Just sayin’.

  63. Anything by Kitman Figueroa. She has several bottom-up triangular shawls that are lovely. Her patterns are extremely well-written and have several sizes so you could pick the one that suits the yardage you have.

  64. I haven’t looked at them closely, but I know Wendy of Wendy Knits has been designing bottom up triangular shawls lately.

  65. I can’t wait to see which you choose. BTW, not unheard of cat behaviour. My cat does that with wet face cloths, we always assumed she was washing her face. Well, now I have to go research shawl patterns 🙂 You have a strong influence over knitters minds, Jedi Master.

  66. When you have enough yarn spun for your shawl, save a little of the fleece and use that as stuffing for a knitted kitty toy for your little feline friend. Those toys are the favorites of every cat I’ve made one for, and they seem to be more enticing than catnip!
    My favorite shawls have been the ones from Fiber Trends, but you’ll know the one you like when you see it. The Sheep Shawl is one that you can knit the different sections in different colors rather than the whole shawl in a single color, but I think you’ve already knitted that one so you may not want to do another.
    You’re clever enough to design your own if you don’t find what you’re looking for. Your wedding shawl was one of the prettiest ones I’ve ever seen.

  67. Thank you again!! I know why I check your blog every day and it makes me smile every time I see a new post. And that’s before I read it. Today’s post had me laughing out loud. “Light fingering” and “dirty sheep”! Who would have thought knitting could be so provocative :>)
    You do realized in one fell swoop you dissed the entire shawlette community…..that made me chuckle as well.

  68. No. No suggestions on a shawl pattern.I love shawls and looking at pictures and seeing them on people, but I have never made one. I do like the fleece colours though, and I love your first picture. It kind of looks like there’s a sheep sleeping on your kitchen floor. As for the cat, perhaps some kind of kitty rehab might be in order?

  69. I have no suggestions for shawls, but your Google story reminds me of a time that I wanted to know if Dick’s Sporting Goods had a replacement net for my son’s pitch-back. As the sign on the store is DICK’S w/sporting goods being in very small type, we refer to it as Dick’s. Let me just say, as a Public Service Announcement, that the full name of the store is VERY important in the URL. I was not prepared for what popped up on my screen. Just sayin’. And it had nothing to do with baseball… Some people just ain’t right.

  70. A friend and I are both starting “Pine and Ivy” designed by Anne Hanson. The small version is perfectly proportional and the shawl is begun by casting on at the lower complete edge and worked to the neck edge.

  71. With the amount of wool and fleece you must have around your house (I’m assuming), I’m surprised you can even have a cat. My two cats go nuts for wool. As in, hopping up and down, rolling around, and then eating it. (I have a similar reaction in most yarn stores, but I try and have at least a little restraint.) Of course, they have the same reaction to most household cleaners, so it could just be they are weird.

  72. I have an idea! Have you seen the Northampton Neckerchief from New England Knits? It’s square, but not too small/not too large, and it’s shown with different colors in chunks. (Yes, that’s the technical term). I’m thinking it would be PERFECT with different colors of Jacob; very subtle, deliciously sheepy, and just amazing. Here’s the Ravelry link:

  73. never NEVER google Hershey either, shudder. I enjoyed the description of your cat’s reaction to the fleece… I think she (or he?) would get along fine with our Magnus.

  74. I know you said you want to start with black on the long edge, but I have to argue that you should begin with the black at the neck and work your way down – I think this will enhance the effect of that smaller amount of true black by giving you a longer band out of less yarn. Of course, going neck down means you can stop whenever you want (or need to) as well.
    Maybe it’s because I love my own version so much, but I recommend starting with the textured shawl recipe, with a couple of your favorite textured stitches added in. I did a hand spun undyed luxury fiber ombre shawl this way (starting with St st in pure white angora at the top and working through creamy lusciousness in a variety of stitches to a honey camel/silk blend in garter at the bottom). You could change colors with each stitch change.
    If not, how about the Sweet Alyssum Shawl? It has banding between lace sections that looks like a good demarcation for color changes. It has 4 bands, so you could do black, dark grey, light grey then white…
    Either way, i’m sure you’ll enjoy it! I can’t wait to read about it!

  75. I think I gave you a copy of my Easy Triangular Shawl Pattern a couple of years ago. It really shows how to design a shawl.

  76. Okay, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to search Ravelry, search all your knitting books, all your knitting magazines, go to your LYS and look through their patterns, then you’re going to design your own thing because none of the patterns is exactly what you have in your mind. Am I right?

  77. I am really loving the Hyrna Herborgar – I think it would be incredible. Not sure if it fits your definition of small but lace goes a long way! I can’t wait to see whatever you decide to do!

  78. The cat that lives in my house LOVES fleece. The raw-er the better. I have to lock up everything. The last cat that lived here couldn’t be bothered, this is a pain in my ass. It hurts even more that this cat isn’t “mine”, she was brought here when my daughter moved back home. So, I buy her food, feed her, make sure she is flea free, spayed, and up to date on her shots and yet…….
    And then she eats my wool. Little shit.

  79. anne hanson has some great shawls– les abeilles is a bottom-up shawl that might work! the smallest size is really small, though– i’d recommend either working the medium size or adding another repeat of the lace on either side to the small one.

  80. THANK YOU! I hate it when a pattern for what is blatantly no more than a little trifle of a scarf is labeled as a shawl!
    I wish I had the perfect pattern to tell you about. It’s got to be one special pattern for that gorgeous fleece!
    Pretty gross about the cat and the raw fleece. Cats like gross stuff, though, don’t they? We had one growing up that would leap on top of a pile of my dad’s dirty, sweaty clothes after he was done working out or mowing the lawn, and would roll around in it. Eeewww.

  81. i can’t recommend a shawl pattern, but i would like to share advice when it comes to googling innocent phrases… right after “light fingering” and “dirty sheep”, i highly recommend that fans of 19th century american literature avoid searching “little women”!

  82. I want to knit the Echo Flowers Shawl next, I found itlooking at the blocking thread in Ravelry.

  83. Definitely! Your fleece and your desires scream Icelandic shawl.
    Litla Hyrna Huldu or anything by Sigridur Halldorsdottir, or Bertha Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clark.
    Have a blast!

  84. It may not be what you are looking for, but I love the Hitchhicker scarf, and the shape is very interesting. I knit it in Silk Garden and loved the manner in which the colors evolved.

  85. I just finished a Whippoorwill shawl (medium sized) and I LOVE it. And it has a cresent edge, so it actually STAYS ON. Go figure!

  86. As I was trying to think of a shawl pattern and reading your post you add the things not to google…..You are to funny!!

  87. At Madrona fiber festival I got a pattern for a multi tiered shawl that was just beautiful. The picture is something I wouldn’t really think twice about but made up and in person it was spectacular. Go to and look under new patterns. It would be perfect for your fleece/yarn.

  88. Others have already suggested this, but I’s happy to chime in that I just completed Wendy Johnson’s Japanese Garden Shawl and enjoyed knitting every stitch 🙂

  89. Has anyone suggested the simple yet effective shawl or the Maia shoulderette??
    Have fun deciding! I can’t wait to see the shawl in progress!

  90. I’m chuckling over the interesting things that pop up in the Google searches.
    Yes, I vote for a picture of the cat too… if you and she can bear it.

  91. Wendy Johnson has been designing small shawls for fingering weight with the construction you are wishing for recently; and my favorite (which I have bought) is her Japanese Garden Shawl pattern: (proceeds through the end of the month go to Japan relief) which I think is absolutely gorgeous and would show off the color changes nicely. She has a couple other recent shawls with the same construction, “Island Time” and the “Antimacassar Shawl”, but I admit to loving the Japanese Garden Shawl very much!

  92. OK, now I see that several others have suggested it! My bad for not reading the hundreds of suggestions! (I did skim the first bunch.) You have some GREAT ideas here, though, you must admit.

  93. Most cats go nuts over a clean fleece because lanolin smells very, very much like kitty colostrum and mama cat milk. Ever smell a nursing kitten? Smells just like a clean fleece. Memories of Mama! It’s also why some cats chew woolen things.
    Once, years ago, I thought I had locked all of the cats out of the room before I unboxed a neatly rolled fleece. One of our cats was sound asleep on top of the bookcase, and I hadn’t seen him (I should have looked, too, it was one of his favorite sleeping spots).
    I heard this strange, mournful sound coming from above me. A long, plaintive, “Meooooooooowaaaaaaaamaaaaaa.” Weirdest noise have ever heard a cat make.
    (I still swear he was warbling “mama!”)
    He peered over the top of the bookcase, eyes wide as saucers, and leapt DIRECTLY into the center of the fleece, mashing his face in it and rolling around in it. I swear he was crying.
    I scooped him up (along with a bit of the fleece) and dealt with the fleece. When I was done picking it, I made him a little canvas bag stuffed with a generous handful of the stuff, and it was his favorite toy EVER.

  94. Maybe you could “Ravelry” check my Tribble shawl and see if it would work for you. It is made center first and then edging, with the edging grafted to the shawl center. It has a rounded lower edge so as to not have an arrow emphasizing “my butt is here.” If you are interested, contact me on Ravelry or E-mail.
    P.s. I have a dog with a yarn fetish, so I feel your anguish. I wished I had gotten pictures of my first anniversary gift from my husband after “His” dog tried to destroy what had been 900 yards of special order mohair lace weight. Then there was the cashmere blend he got a hold of.. and how many times did I come home to wool fiber aggessively strung out across the living room…? Or the very night that my very first mohair yarn came, this same dog grabbed a ball out of the bag and pulled the center right out of the ball…Sigh Even my mohair spiral shawl/lap throw is no longer mine. He laid claim on it shortly after it was completed.

  95. I can feel it . . . this is going to be as much fun as your search for the perfect mitten pattern!

  96. There’s also the McCafferty Shawl by Lily France…The original was made in handspun and it’s a triangular shawl knit from the bottom up with a lace edging that’s knit onto the long end at the end.

  97. You could make Nessie, but knit it from the opposite end – from the ruffle.
    Nessie is easy to modify, so you could put some lace in it – and the short-rows make the colourchange in the fleece look so good.
    You can make it wider by adding more short-row-sections, so it will be more shawl-like than scarf-like.

  98. i’ve just finished the ‘stripe study shawl’ by Veera Valimaki of Ravelry. it is fantastic and may be just what your looking for. Though its a neck down knit so you would have to save the black till last….. how is your self controle??

  99. My cat goes crazy over Lanolin too. I have some Bag Balm my mum sent me from the states. It’s a ‘cow’s udder balm’ but really it’s for people and it has Lanolin in it and it’s really moisturising.
    BUT when I put it on my hands or feet she goes crazy rubbing all over it, licking it, etc.
    And when I put it on my lips…well…same thing.
    I keep her out of the room when I’m doing that!

  100. How about the Miralda shawl from Nancy Bush’s Estonian Lace book? That has the construction method you’re wanting, anyway…

  101. Anything by Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits. She’s on a “bottom’s up” tack lately, and has put out SEVERAL patterns of that genre–very lovely.

  102. When I saw that fleece in the previous post I thought one of those long rectangle shawls where you start at the ends and work your way to the middle. And it could double as a head warming device when it gets cold. That stuff looks might snuggly.

  103. Blackbird by Kieran Foley might do…800-850 yds. I particularly like the Moroccan Red Bird version.

  104. As a spinner and someone who is working on a fleece as well I would do the 198 yds of heaven pattern. It is beautiful and works super well with handspun and….198 yds is appealing when you are washing, carding, spinning, plying and then knitting! It would work well for Jacob as well I think!

  105. Your cat loves the lanolin in the fleece. I’ve read somewhere that mama-cats teats are surrounded by lanolin, and this is how the kitties find the teats when their eyes are still closed. Maybe your cat can be trained to suss out *really* good fleece? And it also might explain why my cats love sleeping on blocked, still wet wool that’s been soaked in Eucalan? I’d put money down on it!

  106. Try looking for shawls in graduated yarns in Ravelry. I was just looking for shawls to do with a Zauberball I acquired over the weekend and there were lots of shawls that might work for your yarn. I’m mesmerized with Dianna — a triangular shawl that combines lace and entrelac. I’m going to make myself finish a couple of other projects before I dive in, but I’m definitely a goner.

  107. Yep, sometimes you have to discipline the cats.
    I’m very happy with my Europa Crescent shawl. Light and lovely. My dirty talk to it is a distant memory. Lol

  108. Better a cat who rubs his face in fleece that a dog who rolls in horse patties….>;-) Speaking from experience here.
    Can be of no help whatsoever on the shawl pattern but I suspect you will find something anyway!

  109. Had to stop Googling all the potentially dirty terms people kept suggesting. I should be working!
    For the shawl, I loved Cheryl Oberle’s Feather & Fan Triangle from Folk Shawls. It’s top-down, but you can customize the garter stitch part to the size you want, and stop when you run out of yarn. that’s what I did with the skein of Kauni I used for the F&F part, and it turned out lovely.

  110. I will not google dirty sheep, and I definitely knew better than to google light fingering.
    Of course, now with those terms showing up on your blog and a little judicious safe search maybe it is OK to give those terms a whirl.
    I like Ishbel, but it is done from top to bottom, so it is out!

  111. On Ravelry, do a search for bottom up shawls – you get all sorts of lovely options.
    My favorite is Birgit Freyer’s “Tuch/Shawl Marella”.
    Does the suggester of the shawl you pick get a prize?

  112. Have you considered the Lillia Hyrna shawl from The Knitter’s Book of Wool? I hope to make one myself someday.

  113. I did a swallowtail shawl a few years back where I ran out of blue and used black for the edging section. I’m farflegirl on Ravelry if you want to see it. The pattern is divided into 2 different stitch patterns, plus the edging so that could lend itself well to your idea, although maybe you don’t want the color changes to be that specific.

  114. I’ve always been partial to Thordis. Not the least because that is my great aunt’s name. She only lived to the age of 14. Her name was Thordis Tandberg. You can find it on Ravelry. Good luck!

  115. Pretty fleece! I would totally recomend a Hap shawl, triangle or square. Nice thing about them is you do not need a pattern and can make it as big or as small as you wish.
    You could use the white or a mix of white/grey for the garter stitch body and all the colors but black for the feather and fan, and depending on how much black you end up you could either knit a simple sideways edging or just a couple of rows of garter and bind off.
    But them I am entirelly too fond of hap shawls….

  116. The “Nancy & Judy” works well for yarns with long color runs where The Color is the big important thing. It’s designed neck-out, but the basic motif is easy to turn around to knit long-side-in. It’s just tricky enough to not be mindlessly boring, but easy enough that if you lose the pattern after two repeats, no big deal.
    (Alternatively, you can do a just-Nancy, which is one of the things I’m working on right now.)

  117. There’s a funny book called Porn for Women. It’s pictures of men doing things like cleaning the bathroom and making dinner and vacuuming. It cracks me up.
    At work one day, I decided to google it so that I could send the link to a girlfriend.
    I’m going to repeat that because I was stupid enough to not realize what I was doing. I googled “porn for women” on my work computer.

  118. In response to Sam from 4/18 at 3:36 PM, did you google using Canadian Google ( or American Google ( The search results will be different. I discovered this trick while trying to confirm my suspicions that Molson Canadian sold in Canada is different than Molson Canadian sold in the US. (I still believe that Molson is selling Americans what they THINK we want to drink. I did a taste test comparing Molson Canadian that I bought on vacation in Baddeck with Molson Canadian bought in Pennsylvania. They do not taste the same. The beer bought in Canada was brewed in Moncton and tasted smoother than the beer I bought in Pennsylvania which was brewed in Toronto. The Molson rep. that I called denied this conspiracy and blamed any taste difference on the difference in Moncton water and Toronto water. Like I was going to believe that a company as big as Molson doesn’t filter any taste differences out of their water supply.)

  119. I love when you put one of these posts out. I get to look through the suggestions and add some new designers and patterns to my favorites! Also, did you ever finish the Habu scarf? I’d love to see it. 3 of the 4 LYS I frequent have Habu yarn now, but no sample. I’m intrigued, but feeling cautious!

  120. Ohhhh, the beautiful Woodland Walk shoulder shawl by Wendy Johnson. It totally lacks any form of an arrow-to-butt. Instead, the bottom is straight across. It does have lace and genius construction, and although I haven’t yet made it, it appears to have style and comfort aplenty. I have it in my mental queue and would love to see you test-knit it for me/us 🙂 on your blog.

  121. I know you are thinking of multiple colors.
    But if you took your colors and divided them into lights, darks and the black, flicked and spun by the lock randomly (so you would have a ‘light’ color and a ‘dark’ color), I think that would look very nice knitted into Rosemary Hill’s “Taygete”. Use the black for the picot bind-off.
    This pattern is all about the interaction between the colors. I love seeing this pattern with at least one varigated yarn. The colors dance across the garter stitch section.

  122. I find it interesting that I have been doing the exact same thing. I’ve separated “Tootsy” into black, gray, and white, and am getting ready to wash it. I look forward to seeing your choice of pattern.

  123. My own cat’s interest in yarn is pretty low, and I don’t yet know what her reaction would be to an actual fleece. For her, it’s the needles that fascinate: she reaches out slowly while I’m knitting, and start’s batting the air around the free end of whichever needle’s closer. Or if she’s unchaperoned, she pulls the needles out of the work, grooms them thoroughly, and then files them under the Chesterfield with all her other treasures. If you’re ever at our house and need a pen, pencil, ponytail holder, knitting needle, damp sock, or bit of tin foil, you’ll find it under the sofa.
    As for ideas for your Jacob, I know you gave some guidelines, but might you consider designing your 2009 Pretty Thing into a shawl? 1/2 of the repeat could anchor each corner, variations span the lengths, and a rosette of three Pretty Thing halves bloom where the three axes meet. You’d have the choice of graduating the colours from the bottom up, top down, or out from the center. AND it would be 100% S.P. McPhee, from sheep to shawl!

  124. What about Wendy D. Johnson( she has some beutiful and quick patterns and they are on sale till the end of april I encluded her web site just in case i hope that was ok

  125. Steph, can we have some honesty here? Please?
    The *only* reason you don’t like to see the cat rolling on/rubbing face and body with/ your fleece is because it looks so much like *you* doing the same thing.
    Only furrier. 🙂
    And to be fair, it *is* a small fleece–is there not enough room for both of you?
    *grin* I too would love to have a pic of felis sheepus. 🙂

  126. Don’t ever google flip flops either (as in the summer shoe) Oh. My. Can’t wait to see what you spin up!

  127. The first pattern that immediately came to mind was Cirilia Rose’s Northampton Neckerchief from the New England Knits book. Three sections for the lovely jacob colors, and you can omit the beads if they’re just not your thing.

  128. Maybe that sheep spent a lot of time in a catnip patch? Because that behavior says catnip to me.
    Or maybe your cat is just weird.

  129. Have you seen the new “Jane Eyre”? At the beginning she is wearing a simple garter stitch shawl with a deep ruffle. It looks very warm, totally appropriate for the windswept moors of Yorkshire.

  130. I must be bored,.. I just HAD to google both of those things you said NOT too.
    I think your cat is perfectly normal and perhaps you are odd for thinking this behavior weird 😛
    Your cat clearly likes fiber as much as you do. Consider yourselves kindred spirits and give the poor kitty her very own lock to love on.

  131. I totally think this is expected cat behavior. In the middle of the night my cat will pull the project bag out of the knitting basket, find the ball of wool (if the drawstring is pulled, she is thwarted) and then take it upstairs and put it under the bed. I think she thinks it’s kittens. She really liked the little balls for my black socks. She loves to sleep on Patons wool. We have pictures.
    Putting your cat in your bedroom is appropriate. The other option is to fold to the cat instinct. And I don’t think you want her to put it under the bed, especially since she will be attracted to the darker bits. They know.
    You’re going to have a lot of suggestions from the blog for the perfect pattern.

  132. I forgot to say that raw fleece might have some bits of catnip. She might not be able to help herself. I could add all sorts of 70s commentary, but I’ll leave that up to others. Let her enjoy her buzz in your bedroom.

  133. Stripe Study Shawl from Veera (100% rain) Over 400 projects on Rav and the pattern has only been available for a couple of months! Such fun to knit.

  134. Exactly what I’m doing right now but I’m spinning bfl for a shetland type shawl. With all the colors you’ve got, sounds like a perfect fit for the Icelandic Shawl (Thordis Shawl). It’s a free pattern on the Interweave Knitting Daily site ( bigger than you want but I saw one in person and it’s beautiful.

  135. Nope, the real question is whether you’re going to feed in the locks butt-end first or sideways?

  136. Well, good lord. This will teach you to ask a question…look at this huge list!!! If you actually get to the bottom, I vote for the Stripe Study Shawl. You can use all those shades!

  137. Beautiful fleece. Call me weird but I love seeing how the locks transform. From raw to cleaned to combed. Like your cat, I love the feel of fleece before it’s spun.

  138. That reminds me of the time I Googled “succulent balls” searching for ways to make hanging round spheres that are covered with succulents. Didn’t think a thing about it and BAM! I still quiver thinking about my lack of forethought. That’s it, no good shawl recommendations. Best of luck to you on that front. Gorgeous fleece.

  139. Whatever you decide, give the person you buy the pattern from forewarning so their website can handle it! I too am ready for a smaller shawl to work on. You get the honor of wading through all the recommendations. I’d be happy with a list of ten shawls: nine runner ups and the winner. THAT number I could handle checking out. My head gets spin-y at the thought of perusing dozens and dozens of possible choices.

  140. Check out Jared Flood’s new pattern, Rock Hill, I think it’s called. It is lace weight and gorgeous. I am definitely going to make it, for my umpteenth shawl.
    I once googled Fanny’s Fingering – big mistake! The things that came up made me blush, wince, and run screaming from the computer!

  141. Silly me – it’s Rock Island, not Rock Hill. I could have checked first, but that would be too easy.

  142. You might look over at wendyknitsDOTnet. She has been on a bottom’s up shawl kick lately. Some beautiful patterns which would offer the possibility of not having the black at the top, if you want that option.

  143. It’s not the feel of the fleece but the urine and hormones in the unwashed wool that the cat is besotted with. We had a cat that would do the same thing and act like he was high on catnip rolling in the fleece and pulling it over his head.
    As for a shawl…I’ve been hooked (needled?) on the the Ginkgo Shawl from Fragrant Heart Creations (free download). Sorry if it falls into that category of scarves trying to be shawls. The picture of the yellow one on the designers is very pretty. There are some pretty ones on Ravelry too. Check out the one by stringmaker in Wollmeise yarn, Spice Market colorway.

  144. Then again, you could just pick a lace pattern you like, cast on enough repeats to nicely fill about a 1.5-2 foot width, then knit a rectangle long enough to suit you and your wool allotment.

  145. I swear. Reading your blog gets me into more knitting trouble [“Trouble with a capital “T”/And that rhymes with “P” and that stands for Pearl-McPhee!” ha! I couldn’t resist, it’s one of the few musicals I like…]
    Anyway, I don’t have a pattern for you, what I *do* have though is 1,000 yards of yarn made from local Jacob sheep on order for the Aspen Wrap I found on Ravelry. (Here – It was this post about the fleece that finally tipped me over the edge.

  146. How about Multnomah? You might want to reverse it–it starts at the neck, not the long end–but it’s so simple and pretty, it probably wouldn’t be difficult.
    I’m short, and it’s the perfect size for me–not overwhelming, but not a scarf or “shawlette.”
    The pattern’s free on Ravelry, and there’s also a Multnomah group there, with many pretty examples. I’d think it would work especially well with the striping.

  147. How about Muir, from Knitty, Fall 2007? I’ve seen it done in a jacob/alpaca blend, and it was heavenly!! Hope you find the perfect pattern. Jacob is my all time favorite. I own a CSA share at Jacob’s Reward Farm in Parker, TX, and some of that comes in Jacob–l.o.v.e it!!!

  148. I don’t know if anyone has said this yet, but Lilah from the new spring/summer Knitty? It’s made in the graduated colors you’re looking for and it’s not a huge shawl.
    Side note: The whole new spring/summer issue of Knitty is fabulous.

  149. Can’t think of any suggestions that haven’t been offered already. Thanks for this post! It gives the rest of us lots of great suggestions on beautiful patterns we may have missed.
    There is so much wonderful free stuff out there too…it amazes me. Knitters are generous people in every way.

  150. Someone up there suggested a shawl I designed back in the 90s. Thank you, but I don’t think it’s right for what you want to do.
    I suggest something from “Three Cornered and Long Shawls” by Sigridur Halldorsdottir. “Fina Hyrnan” or “Litla Hyrna Huldu” would be fine…I think the original instructions call for multi-coloured versions. Ev Clark’s “Icelandic Poppy” or “Bertha Lace” shawls could also be worked in several shades. Have fun.

  151. That sounds like it’ll be great!! What about 22.5 Degrees? It’s more like a long skinny scarf, but with a small shawl feel…Then, there’s anything by Birgit Freyer…I LOVE her designs!

  152. Take a look at Maliase’s Burnt Paper Shawl on Ravelry. I know it’s not a triangle but her use of the natural colors of the fleece will make you say wow.

  153. Hi there. I’m late to the game but was just perusing some patterns from Kristen Kapur because she’s having a sale. Have you considered Andrea’s shawl? I’m looking at jojilocat’s version and I think it’s stunning. I also saw that Smoking Hot Needles (monika) just completed a Romi Hill shawl … one sec… Taygete… that would look stunning in shade of jacob. that’s all for now!

  154. Just wanted to let you know that this blog entry inspired the script on a bachelorette party cake for a dear friend who knits… with light fingering.

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